Good morning! Today we are beginning our reading in Acts chapter 9. This chapter is the pivotal point where an enemy of Christ becomes one of the greatest defenders of the Good News of Jesus Christ. You don’t want to miss it unfold. Join me as we begin to read about Saul.
Bible Verse – Acts 9:1-2 NLT
“1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.[a] So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.”
Who is Saul?
• Acts chapter 7:58, “His (Stephen’s) accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.”
• Acts chapter 8:1, “Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.”
• Acts chapter 8:3, “Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.”
While the gospel was being preached across the regions wherever believers scattered, Saul was on a mission to rid Jerusalem and the regions around it of those who believed in Jesus Christ. Not only was he focused on putting them in prison, but he was eager to “kill the Lord’s followers” (v.1), which makes it easy to understand why believers scattered.
What I find interesting is that Saul was asking for “cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way“(v.2). In John 14:6, “Jesus told him (Thomas), “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Saul must have heard the Good News (gospel message) about the Way, but did not believe – atleast not at the point in these verses.
Sisters and brothers, many will come and try to destroy God’s plan, but they will not win. Many will try to scatter you and turn you away from the Way, but stand knowing the truth – Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (One who gives Life). There is no other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. Stay encouraged and continue to share your faith in the midst of opposition and persecution – then watch God’s plan unfold.
Father God we thank you for all that you do for us. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for showing us your way. Lord, thank you for the gift of salvation and redemption. Lord, be with our nation and heal our land. Lord God, help us to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Help those who live in fear of persecution and deliver those being tortured because of their faith. Lord, we pray for pastors, missionaries, ministers, Bible teachers and believers around the world. Lord we ask that you continue your work in us. Lord, strengthen our faith and encourage our hearts to follow you all the days of our lives. Lord, equip us with your mighty hands and word so that we will stand firm and acknowledge your word within us every day. Lord, dress us up in full armor this day so that we may stand against the enemy’s schemes. Make sure to cover our head with the helmet of salvation, place in our hands the sword of the Spirit – word of God, help us hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil, put on our shoes of peace – the peace that comes from the Good News, strap the belt of truth around our waist and cover us with the body armor of God’s righteousness. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
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